Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a historic apology to LGBT Canadians in the House of Commons today, saying sorry for decades of "state-sponsored, systematic oppression and rejection."
Speaking to a packed and emotional chamber, Trudeau expressed shame, sorrow and deep regret to the civil servants, military members and criminalized Canadians who endured discrimination and injustice based on their sexual orientation.
"You are professionals. You are patriots. And above all, you are innocent. And for all your suffering, you deserve justice, and you deserve peace," he said.
"It is our collective shame that you were so mistreated. And it is our collective shame that this apology took so long – many who suffered are no longer alive to hear these words. And for that, we are truly sorry."
MPs rose together in applause to the apology, which at times brought Trudeau to tears.
Recounting how lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit Canadians were ruined by irreparable pain and grief, Trudeau said they were discriminated against by laws that "bolstered and emboldened those who wanted to attack non-conforming sexual desire."
"Our laws made private and consensual sex between same-sex partners a criminal offence, leading to the unjust arrest, conviction, and imprisonment of Canadians," he said. "This criminalization would have lasting impacts for things like employment, volunteering, and travel.
Laws and policies enacted by the government legitimized hatred and violence, and public service, foreign service and members of the military and RCMP were all targeted and persecuted in what Trudeau called "nothing short of a witch-hunt."
"From the 1950s to the early 1990s, the government of Canada exercised its authority in a cruel and unjust manner, undertaking a campaign of oppression against members, and suspected members, of the LGBT communities," he said.
The apology comes with $145 million, which includes $110 million for compensation for LGBT civil servants whose careers were sidelined or ended because of their sexuality, and $15 million for historical reconciliation, education and memorialization efforts. Read more via CBC